HYATTSVILLE, Md. - On Wednesday, the U.S. Border Patrol will give reporters access to buildings where it's holding children caught crossing into this country without parents.
Tens of thousands have entered illegally this year, and more are coming every day.
We spoke to three boys in their family's apartment near Washington, D.C. They said they are aged 17, 15 and 12.
They asked us not to use their names. Their family paid smugglers $9,000 to bring them from Honduras to the Texas border. They crossed the Rio Grande alone in January.
What was the worst part about the journey?
"Crossing here," the 12-year-old said, speaking in Spanish. Crossing the river was the worst, he said.
The boys are from San Pedro Sula, the city with the highest murder rate in the world. They say they had to escape gangs that shot their older brother.
Were they afraid they would be killed too?
"Yes. They had already told me that they were going to kill me," said the eldest.
They are among a wave of children who have crossed in the United States without their parents. More than 47,000 have come here illegally since last June.
The boys we met flagged down a Border Patrol agent once they entered the U.S.
"They took our shoelaces," the 17-year-old told us, "and they put us in their car."
They were taken to a center like this one, where they were able to call their mother, who has been in the U.S. for five years.
Were they ever afraid when they were traveling?
"Yes," the oldest said. "There are people that have come here to die in the desert. You come with fear."
The boys spent three months in a Chicago shelter before reuniting with their mother.
Is it hard to talk about these things?
"Yes, it's hard," the 17-year-old said, tearing up.
The boys are waiting for a deportation hearing to be scheduled. The Border Patrol expects 40,000 more immigrants like them this year.
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